Caring House: Providing Compassionate End-of-Life Care | Torrance Memorial

Published on August 01, 2020

Caring House: Providing Compassionate End-of-Life Care

caring house

Written by Laura Roe Stevens  |  Photographed by Vincent Rios

Quality care at the end of life addresses more than a person’s physical comfort and daily care. It should also provide for emotional and spiritual needs by “creating a calm environment and removing distractions that can improve mood, evoke memories and help the person relax,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

caring house roomThat’s where Torrance-based Caring House—a nonmedical, end-of-life care house in Los Angeles—excels. “Caring House is an invaluable community asset,” says Sally Eberhard, senior vice president of planning and development at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. “I’ve seen how Caring House really meets the needs of people at the end of life and their families, who need more support.”

Ed Long, cofounder and president of the organization, says people often confuse Caring House with hospice. While hospice is a visiting service providing medical care, Caring House provides a safe and comfortable “home-away-from-home” and nonmedical care, 24 hours a day.

“We are all about peace and dignity at the end of life,” says Long. “We didn’t realize it when we started, but the benefits of what we do stick with families for the rest of their lives.”

For example, Long says one resident chose to live at Caring House because the dying father didn’t want to burden his wife with caring for him, nor did he want his two young children to have memories of him dying in their home. “It was a beautiful time. The children came over   after school every day, visiting their dad and doing their homework—one day even baking cupcakes with us in our kitchen. It was a loving time for the whole family here,” Long shares.

There are many reasons why someone might opt to live their last weeks or days at Caring House. Perhaps a person’s home is not safe to navigate. Some people prefer not to hire or cannot afford visiting home care, or prefer not to have strangers in their home. Family members can become exhausted providing or supervising care. Others don’t want to burden family members who may have illnesses of their own.

caring house rocksWhatever the reason, most people immediately feel at ease within its clean, homey atmosphere, says Long. Caring House’s mission is to provide “a loving home for the last stage.” Caregivers do not wear uniforms, for instance, and the home has five private bedrooms for up to five residents at a time.

For their medical care, residents choose a Medicare-certified hospice service. Each resident’s chosen hospice team will visit them at Caring House to provide symptom and pain management and other medical services.

Stress, anxiety and fear don’t have to dominate a family when their loved one receives a terminal diagnosis. Caring House can help them find peace, ease their burdens and give them the ability to focus on spending precious quality time together.